Thieves attempting to steal diesel from a filling station in Carlisle were foiled after an alarm was tripped and police raced to the scene and caught them in the act.

The incident occurred at Carleton Filling Station, which is owned by Top 50 Indie Hills of Corby, on the night of December 28-29.

The site is equipped with a Fairbanks Fuel Management system which sends a text to a member of staff if levels in the fuel tanks start to fall when the site is closed.

Director Micheal Collins says he received a text just after midnight and he could see that around 1,500 litres had been removed, so he called the police.

When they arrived minutes later the thieves fled on foot and despite a search with police dogs they escaped. However the police were able to seize a lorry along with a pump and pipes and 1,500 litres of diesel onboard.

Collins said the alarm system had been installed after two previous thefts from the site in the past two years in which thousands of litres were stolen.

He said the police were currently holding the lorry and its load for forensic examination and Hills expected to receive the diesel back in about a fortnight.